Tourism firms gain knowledge on how to prevent child exploitation

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Pattaya-area hoteliers and tour operators learned how to better protect children against commercial sexual exploitation in travel and tourism at a one-day seminar organized by ECPAT International and its The Code initiative.

Mark Capaldi, director of the research and policy division at ECPAT, joined Parisorn Noja, director of the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Center, for the March 17 workshop at Pattaya City Hall.

Mark Capaldi, director of the research and policy division at ECPAT, delivers the opening speech at the ‘Stop Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel & Tourism’ training seminar.Mark Capaldi, director of the research and policy division at ECPAT, delivers the opening speech at the ‘Stop Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel & Tourism’ training seminar.

The seminar aimed to strengthen understanding of the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children, child prostitution, and child-sex tourism; provide information on how to report cases to law enforcement and NGOs; and offer resources and tools to enable tourism professionals to create child-friendly companies, policies, and procedures.

They said special emphasis must be placed on venues that allow minors on the premises, noting many entertainment venues don’t stress safety of children in their operation.

Once operators understand the issue of exploitation of children, they can help keep an eye out and report incidents to authorities or provide assistance to children quickly.

By signing on to the Code of Conduct, companies pledge to campaign against child-sex tourism, educate employees to detect and report suspicious activities, set policies under which suspicious customers are refused service, provide educational material to guests and customers, and contribute to The Code’s annual report.